Tahini noodles are creamy, savory, and ready in 20 minutes! Like a sesame version of peanut soba, this dish is a blank slate for your favorite veggies and additions. Simply whisk the tahini sauce in a bowl, cook the vegetables in the same pot with the noodles, and in minutes you have a comforting weeknight dinner. Vegan and easily made gluten-free.
Why You'll Love It
If you're a fan of Asian-inspired sauces, I think you'll LOVE these tahini noodles. Rich and nutty tahini combines with soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, lime juice, and a touch of sweetness from maple syrup for a sauce that's smooth, so flavorful, and yet more mellow than most Asian sauces.
As much as I love peanut sauce, I think I actually like this tahini version more! I intentionally omitted ginger from this recipe, even though we love it, and it would be right at home here. But I really wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible.
As it turns out, without the ginger, all of the lovely flavors of the other ingredients have a chance to shine.
And since the veggies cook in the same pot as the noodles (or pasta), there are minimal dirty dishes, and you've got dinner on the table in no time!
What is tahini?
Tahini is made from toasted hulled sesame seeds. They are ground into a paste similar to other types of nut and seed butters.
This popular Middle Eastern ingredient is earthy, nutty, and slightly bitter in flavor. It can be incorporated into recipes or enjoyed by the spoonful.
The consistency of tahini if great for creating creamy sauces and salad dressings.
And if you happen to follow an oil-free diet, tahini is a great way to enhance the flavors of any dish without adding a lot of fat (since a little goes a long way). This healthy vegan Alfredo is a perfect example of the versatility of tahini, as are these spiced tahini cookies!
Ingredients and Subs
- noodles or your favorite pasta - try rice noodles, soba, or even spaghetti or angel hair. Most recently we made this dish with Trader Joe's gluten-free spaghetti (made from brown rice and quinoa).
- vegetables - I included broccoli and bok choy because I had both in the fridge, but there's really no limit to the veggies you can add to tahini noodles. To keep prep really simple, choose 1 or 2 veggies that will cook quickly in the pasta water such as kale, cauliflower, green beans, snow peas, or zucchini. You can also include raw vegetables such as grated carrot, cabbage, and bell pepper.
- tahini - any brand you enjoy is great. I used Trader Joe's tahini.
- soy sauce - this is important for saltiness and flavor. Shoyu or tamari (GF) may be substituted; for a soy-free option try coconut aminos.
- rice vinegar - look for plain rice vinegar, not "seasoned," which is sweeter.
- lime juice - if you don't have a lime, extra rice vinegar gets the job done. But the fresh burst of lime really takes the dish up a notch!
- garlic - I used two medium cloves; feel free to adjust the amount to suit your tastes.
- maple syrup - this adds just enough sweetness to the sauce to balance out the rich and savory flavors.
- toasted sesame oil - adds great flavor but can be omitted if you strictly avoid oil.
See the recipe card below for amounts and full instructions.
How To Make Tahini Noodles
- Cook the noodles in lightly salted water according to package directions. With about 2 minutes left on the timer, add the broccoli and bok choy to the pot and stir. While the pasta cooks, whisk together the tahini sauce in a bowl.
- Drain the noodles and vegetables in a colander.
- Return them to the pot, and toss with the sauce. Serve warm.
I really enjoy the tahini noodles plain, straight from the pot. They're creamy, simple yet flavorful, and just so comforting.
But you can definitely have fun with garnishes! Try green onion, cilantro, and/or sesame seeds. And if you like a bit of crunch, chopped toasted cashews are fantastic.
Add baked or smoked tofu, chickpeas, seitan, or lentils to make this dish more filling.
Yes, this recipe is easily made gluten-free. Choose a noodle or pasta made from rice or other gluten-free ingredient, and use certified GF tamari instead of soy sauce.
Yes, tahini should be made from just one ingredient, sesame seeds. There is a misconception that tahini contains added oils because, similar to peanut butter, the naturally occurring oil of the sesame seeds tend to separate from the solids and rise to the top of the container.
Tip: If you follow an oil-free diet and also try to reduce your fat intake, you may decide to pour off some of the oil at the top of the tahini. In this case, the tahini will be a much thicker paste. When using it in recipes like this one, you'll want to add a splash of water to the sauce for a thinner consistency.
Once completely cool, store tahini noodles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy cold or reheated. Freezing not recommended.
More Ways to Use Tahini
I hope you enjoy these quick and tasty tahini noodles. If you try the recipe comment below to let us know!
Tahini Noodles (20 Minutes!)
Noodles and veggies:
- 8 ounces dry noodles or spaghetti - such as rice noodles, buckwheat soba, or pasta of choice
- 6 ounces broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 or 2 bunches baby bok choy, ends trimmed, chopped - wash well before chopping as it tends to be very dirty/sandy
For the sauce:
- ⅓ cup tahini
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil - omit for oil free and adjust consistency with water as needed
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (GF)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice - about 1 small lime
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- black pepper, optional
- red pepper flakes, optional
- chopped green onion
- sesame seeds or toasted cashews
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles/pasta according to package directions, and when there are about 2 minutes remaining on the timer, add the broccoli and bok choy to the pot. Stir well. When the noodles are done, drain all in a colander.
- To make the sauce, combine the tahini, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and maple syrup in a bowl. Whisk until smooth (it will be thick). Add the soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using, and whisk to combine.
- Return the noodles and veggies to the pot and toss with sauce. Serve warm. If desired garnish with green onion, cilantro, or sesame seeds.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.